New Year, New Minimum Wage in 18 States

Come midnight on the first day of 2018, thousands of workers will see their wages go up. Eighteen states and 20 localities are raising the minimum wage in the new year. Business owners may be worried, but employees can look forward to more money in their pockets.

The federal minimum wage has remained $7.25 an hour since 2009, but cost of living now means that no state in the whole country can pay a minimum wage that affords workers the ability to rent a two-bedroom apartment. To be able to do so in the nation's capital, you need to make more than $33.50 per hour in a job that offers at least 40 hours per week. Even in low-cost states like Arkansas and Kentucky, the federal minimum wage only pays half of what you'd need.

Individual states often mandate higher minimum wages. On Jan. 1, in the following states, they're rising: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. Individual cities and counties are raising their minimum wages also: In Cupertino, California, home of Apple, workers can expect $13.50 an hour, while in Google's California hometown Mountain View, the minimum wage is jumping to $15.

The increases aren't limited to Silicon Valley (looking at you, Albuquerque at $8.95!). Everywhere these new minimum wages have been approved, localities hope to boost spending by giving workers more to spend. Employers anxious about paying for higher wages might consider that their present success relies on undercompensated labor. About 30 percent of hourly, non-self-employed workers 18 and older make less than $10.10 per hour. If it all works out, this change should put them on the path to a much better 2018.